Sunday POV Podcast; Aug 28th

P-G –  Depth will prove key for Pitt football entering season

 Offensively, the Panthers are poised for a strong year, starting with depth on the offensive line. Pitt is shored up on the left side with Adam Bisnowaty at tackle and Johnson at guard. Alex Officer and Alex Bookser are competing at center and right guard, and Brian O’Neill, who converted from tight end, is expected to have a big year at right tackle.

But what offensive coordinator Matt Canada called “unbelievably magnificent” is the depth beyond those five — Jaryd Jones-Smith, John Guy, and Connor Dintino which makes a solid eight players in the rotation.

P-G:  Who Will Back-Up Nate Peterman?

Nineteen practices in, coach Pat Narduzzi still isn’t willing to share who might earn the role on a permanent basis. Stocker is contending for the job along with redshirt freshman Ben DiNucci. Freshman Thomas MacVittie also is in the mix, but, realistically, is likely a year away. A depth chart is expected Monday.

“We need to see a lot. There’s still a battle going on. I won’t even get into details,” said Narduzzi. “It’s an interesting battle, and I think guys are getting better in that role. I think every day you see a little bit more of what you want to see. Guys have had opportunities, and I think we’ll really find out what this guy can do, what that guy can do. When you get into game week, I think it might be something that may be a game decision depending on how the game is going and what the situation is in the game at this point.

Trib –Defensive end Price, other Pitt seniors set example for young LBs battling for starting job

But playing linebacker at a Power 5 school is more complicated than following natural instincts. Zeise said he is increasingly more comfortable.

“I think I’m at a point I’m starting to play my instincts a little bit more,” he said.

Meanwhile, Idowu fights a battle of another sort. He also played at North Allegheny, but he chose to come to Pitt as a walk-on and pay tuition for the chance to earn a starting job at a major college. He could be close to both. Narduzzi didn’t mention names, but he said this week he might soon award some scholarships to walk-ons.

“You want it that much more coming from that position,” Idowu said. “You try to grind every day.”

Narduzzi is expected to release a depth chart Monday, but that might be nothing more than a piece of paper with names arranged in a particular order for order’s sake. He will keep the competition open past the opener until someone does something dramatic to claim the job.

Trib – Dane Jackson at CB opposite Maddox?

Pitt’s quest to find a cornerback to line up opposite Avonte Maddox is far from resolved, but defensive coordinator Josh Conklin said redshirt freshman Dane Jackson remains an impressive candidate.  “Dane has been a complete surprise for me. That’s as transparent as I can be,” Conklin said.

Coaches weren’t sure what to do with Jackson last season.  “We thought maybe he’s a wide receiver, maybe he’s a safety,” Conklin said.

But Jackson, a graduate of Cornell who played at Quaker Valley, spent the past several months seriously preparing for the season. Coaches were surprised when he showed up for training camp 2 12 weeks ago.

“We came out here, and the first two practices, we said, ‘This kid’s different. He’s moving different, he’s acting different. He has a confidence about himself.’ He’s been incredible.”

A few notes – Ford and Challingsworth didn’t get hurt in camp – they both sat out most of the sprig practices due to nagging injuries.  They are experienced WRs thus the emphasis has been on getting the younger WRs work in the fall camp – Mathews, Tipton, Lopes, etc…

Mike Vukovcan of PGH Sports Now Predictions:

Villanova – W

Penn State – W

at Oklahoma State – L

at North Carolina – W

Marshall – W (be careful though)

Georgia Tech – W

at Virgina – W

Virginia Tech – W

at Miami (FL) – L

at Clemson – L

Duke – W

Syracuse – W

2016 Record: 9-3 (6-2 ACC)

 

2222

2016 Pitt Football

Weekly Media Planner

Monday

Pat Narduzzi Press Conference                   Noon

Tuesday

Open Practice Window                                 9:05-9:35 a.m.

Select Assistant Coach/Player Interviews  11:30 a.m.

Wednesday

Open Practice Window                                 9:20-9:50 a.m.

Select Assistant Coach/Player Interviews  11:30 a.m.

Pat Narduzzi on ACC Call                             12:10 p.m.

Transcripts and audio files available on www.theACC.com.

Thursday

Pat Narduzzi Final Press Briefing               TBD

Thursday practice is closed.

 Friday

No scheduled media availability.

Saturday

Pitt vs. Villanova (ACC Network Extra)       1:30 p.m.

44 thoughts on “Sunday POV Podcast; Aug 28th

  1. What bothers me most is the style of ball played by opponents. Fast tempo teams and spread teams will cause major problems.
    Think fat linemen will have trouble(Jarret) with PSU tempo and our secondary will be gashed as well. Look for loonng runs and passes there as well as OK State and NC. Clemson, well hope and pray(although neither are eligible). Hard to see more than 7 wins and that’s if we stay healthy!

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  2. Our Defense will continue to struggle. Teams will make us pass to beat them so it is up to Nate and the WR’s. I hope Canada uses the TE’s.

    Our LB’s are also suspect at best. Better get some legit talent there fast.

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  3. Joe – I believe Miami is the only non-spread/fast tempo offense Pitt will face in the regular season.

    Our DB’s will need to hit the receivers off the line to disrupt routes and our DE’s MUST put pressure on the QB. Regarding the DT’s and LB’s – the DT’s must absorb the O-line blocks and let the LB’s run & hit in space.

    HTP!

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  4. Running game is a strength to play off of, play action passes and TE utilization will soften up the opposing defenses and the passing game will be there.

    Actually the defense will be fine. Hendrix and Price are going to be major disruptions for opposing offenses.

    Baring major injuries look for an 8/4 finish.

    Narduzzi is the real deal.

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  5. Last year, the offense had significant problems in the first half.
    Has HCPN addressed that?
    Easy to blame Glubba, the ex-OC. But that remains a concern.

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  6. Oh my goodness — genuis!

    Tom Vaxmonsky

    August 28, 2016 at 8:13 am —- on the “Joe Knew” Penn State t-shirts:

    “If PSU people don’t like the shirts they could always just look the other way.”

    And he drops the microphone, incredible.

    —– Alright @Reed, you are totally confident on this, I’m hoping: C’mon Nathan Peterman show us Pitt fans how much Better and Improved you are with now that you are Pitt’s unquestioned starter!! 2016 is your final year ever of college football —- so think about all the trials and tribulations you faced at Tennessee and having to transfer to Pitt for an opportunity and Crush It for Pitt and yourself and your teammates and Crush Penn State #1, then Oklahoma State and finally beat North Carolina!! —- what an overall schedule Pitt has this year!

    Man, so much of Pitt’s hopes this year —- and whether Pitt’s offense is explosive enough in the passing game to Beat Penn State at Heinz, Oklahoma State at their rockin’, packed Boone Pickens Stadium (https://www.google.com/search?q=boone+pickens+stadium&espv=2&biw=1777&bih=861&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiLkubxxeTOAhVP92MKHcrsAUkQ_AUIBigB&dpr=0.9) which will be Packed and Shakin’! for Pitt, and our really fierce ACC Coastal schedule. Yeesh, we NEED to finally beat North Carolina too!

    Then, yikes (!!!) Pitt has North Carolina at their place in Chapel Hill!!! Good lord, Gauntlet!!!

    Our defense is a bit of a known commodity because in essence it’s the final-year of the predominantly Chryst-Players, especially at linebacker and the defensive backfield. Then Pitt has it’s first real “Narduzzi Talent Infusions* with Jordan Whitehead, Dewayne Hendrix, and hopefully forgotten young-man , D-End (RS Sophomore now I believe) Allen Edwards.

    Man D-tackle…..Tyrique Jarrett is still (sorry — $loppy), just terribly and badly Overweight, and totally out of shape. Clearly he has zero interest in and has zero will to be an NFL player. I was so dissapointed in Tyrique Jarret’s disregard for his body, and I am so upset he did not get wayyy-down like he needed to in his final year ever at Pitt.

    Jarrett needed to lose 30 pounds this offseason to not just end up a tired, weezing, and worthless 350 pound softie getting pushed around after 2 snaps. But nope!! Tyrique Jarrett showed up this final camp at a still horrifically overweight 350 pounds again, whatever man (Power 5 Defensive tackles need to be a svelte and as lean as possible 295-305 nowadays).

    Shakir Soto!!! 6’3”, up to 290-295 ???? =Dunno, maybe decent??!!! True-Senior, in the weight room for 4 full years now, maybe he’s good in there?? He looks absolutely great. He looks really tall like a true 6’3”, and he looks athletic and strong at 290 and some change. Maybe Soto found his calling!

    Jeremiah Taleni —- a bit of a FORGOTTEN MAN. He’s 20 years old, 4th year in the program and a RS Junior. 6’2”, 290-295, stout, and clearly a weight-room Beast — he looks strong as an Ox. Good Size, NFL stocky build and stout. Could Taleni break-out??

    Amir Watts and Keyshon Camp are just too young. Cool if they both get time in spurts this season but right-now neither of them are gonna be Studs. They may be All-Americans as Juniors and Seniors but they can still be great role-players right now, day-1 (okay Redshirts aren’t always necessary they still get 3 more years of eligibility if they play it’s just A-Okay).

    —– At Defensive tackle — Pitt’s hopes are all-in this year on…..guess who??? —— RS Junior Jeremiah Taleni and true-Senior Shakir Soto. Yup, those 2 will decide how quality Pitt’s defensive tackle spot will be. They’ve been in the program for 4 full years apiece, they have been lifting and training for 4 full years — it’s time for both of these players to STEP UP THIS YEAR.

    Lol —- @ Reed — I was like, “Blanket Party” ??? You guys had slumber parties together??? Then I laughed out-loud, because Pat Narduzzi wouldn’t let you guys just a toss a blanket over him and beat him up he would come get you!!! Pat Narduzzi, with his brass knuckles and his aluminum baseball bat!!! 🙂 🙂 haha

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  7. The truth is just like at the start of last season (but for somewhat different reasons) we have no idea who this team is. I want to believe that they are on their way to being a Michigan State but are they the team that almost beat Iowa and beat a good Louisville team or are they the team that got beat by Miami and got asswhupped by Navy? I want to believe that with one year of PN under their belt that team defensive speed will be way up. If it is, we are on our way but if not then I just don’t want to think about it. For someone who has watched every 2015 play I’m going to say that I believe in PD and that the seeds of quality were planted last year and have sprouted. But let’s be real. I don’t know. Reed doesn’t know. And no one on the outside knows.

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  8. ^^^ Reed does know. He knows a lot of things. He just doesn’t know if we’ll have 6,7,8 or 9 wins. (I can easily say no less than 6 or more than 9 though).

    We are going to be an up and down team again this season I think. The one thing we need a HC to be able to do – which we haven’t seen in ages – is to keep winning games after a big win.

    We always seem to get that nice win then blow he game afterward… or lose a game coming off a bye-week. That’s why I wish PSU was toward the middle of the season instead of having to go right into Stillwater the next week. If we win against PSU then lose at OK State there goes any momentum the PSU game will have given us.

    And I still think one of the hardest games we play is going to be Marshall with Doc holiday as the HC. Fans are already way underestimating that program.

    The Media is already picking them to be Conference USA Champs. I think that might be a “L” in the middle of the season… especially coming of those previous three games.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/conference-usa-predictions-picks-2016-marshall-southern-miss-fau-middle-tennessee/1khn8evnh4u7f18d7gwj5evgnq

    If we go 2-2 through PSU, OK State, NC and Marshall I’ll be happy. 3-1… ecstatic. 4-0… not seeing it.

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  9. -I read on ESPN Duke’s starting QB was lost for the season yesterday and they are going to start a freshmen QB. Duke is going to stink next year if that is the case. If Pitt lost to Duke with a true freshmen QB, or to Syracuse who has 1 ACC road win the last 2 seasons combined and is projected to stink this year, Narduzzi is a 2nd rate coach.

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  10. -I also read on ESPN Miami just kicked off like 6 players from their team for some car auto scam. According the the pantherlair they have nothing left on defense except a bunch of freshmen starting. I went to the 247 Miami board and most of them already threw the towel in the season because of all the player losses on defense getting kicked off the team.

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  11. Although luck is always a factor team quality is by far the biggest determinative factor in predicting team success. I include in the definition of team quality the skills of the coaching staff. If Pitt wins 9 games that says something. If it wins 6 games that says something else. If Pitt wins 6 games that doesn’t mean the coaching staff is mediocre. It could mean the staff just needs more time to accomplish its objectives. Reed, saying you don’t know if Pitt will win 6, 7, 8 or 9 games is the truth but wouldn’t you agree that although no one really knows what the future holds does not mean that the quality of the team (and yes of course quality is dynamic with many factors including in season player ability growth and injury occurrence) is not a real thing right now even before the first game. I just find this so exciting and worrisome: How good is this team now? I believe it is somewhere between very good and strictly mediocre. I believe I can intelligently defend both positions just like I can defend these two positions: PN and staff really know what they are doing and PN and staff are just average. At the start of last season I pretty much felt the same way though the tension was about whether the team was less than average or “good”. I guess that’s improvement.

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  12. http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#pbid=a9d01e5c165b4233998d4fb6b4e0aa34&ec=MzbTFoNTE6JjsaJdgepW31Oi3TK6uzgh

    Speaks for itself. Hail to Pitt :). @Reed I think 99% of Pitt fans would be Over The Moon if James Conner gets to move-on from Pitt and go Thrive and Flourish in the NFL after this year. He deserves it and he’s given The University of Pittsburgh so much. The amount of amazing and Positive exposure James Conner gave Pitt on the absolute National Stage in —- dominating Hodgkin’s lymphoma and documenting+sharing his entire Experience —- is something that Pitt fans will remember and appreciate forever. I for one hope James Conner lights it up this entire season, and goes and becomes an NFL a star after this season. I think that’s his destiny.

    #HailtoPitt #PittIsIt #ConnerStrong

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  13. I’m with you Reed, no idea how many wins or losses. Too many variables.

    I do think the first 4 games will tell us if it is closer to 6 or 9.

    Injuries could play a big role if they happen to positions of weakness.

    I do think it will be closer to 6 than 9, primarily because we are Pitt and we usually

    beat the law of averages in a negative way.

    I am not as worried about Jarrett as DK, he had 7 tfl’s last year and 2 sacks.

    I remember a guy named Casey Hampton that took up a lot of space in the middle.

    I am much more worried about the unknowns behind him. Hopefully some of them step up.

    If we do get 8 or 9 wins it will be because the offense is killer and Peterman leads a

    few last minute winning drives. Something that has been in short supply for a long time.

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  14. I’ll go off the board and say this. If Peterman has a serious injury in the first 2-3 games, I think we go with MacPitt. Here’s why. It will be better for the long term plan for the team. It would be a mistake to go into next year with no experienced P5 QB. Sure, Bo played for UCF so that is some experience, but in the long range plan, it would be smart to put MacPitt in there. That will go a long way towards getting next years qb situation questions, answered. Secondly, we know what we have with Stocker. If Peterman is slated for a 2-4 game absence, than Stocker is the back-up so we can salvage a season. It is all about time, place and circumstance.

    At WR, I wrote a month or so ago that although I like Chally, I just didn’t see him getting space on his routes. A 4.55 is faster than upitt, but most of the P5 DB’s are all running in the high 4.4’s – 4’5’s. Doc T can do a 4.5 forty…in his car. I can see us going to a tiny package (no, not that tiny) consisting of Henderson, RAL and Tipton. I think that group does well against a bigger DB set. Against smaller DB’s, we can go jumbo with Ford, Weah and Mathews, Flowers combo.

    At RB, look, Hall was recruited by Narduzzi. Ollison was not. Hall comes from football factory central, Ollison does not. If they are close to being equal, Hall gets the nod. Not hard to figure out the politics of sport. If it goes that way, I think Ollison transfers out after the year because Moss is in the wings.

    Other than that, I agree with your analysis (not urinalysis). I worry about our LB crew because speed teams, but especially Barkley from the dairy college, worry me. As far as wins and losses, I put out there a month ago that I thought we beat Miami. With the suspensions apparently, I feel better about that. I think we start 3-2 and end 5-2 for an 8-4 season. Doesn’t matter in what order either. Too much false hype on the dairy college. We have a plan and we will execute it.

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  15. I’m very surprised how many so called pundits are picking us to win our division. With our defense, unless some first year players step up big time, I see more of the same as last year. LB is a major weak spot, slooooooow. Especially against how many spread offenses we play against. The loss of Hamlin is big. Maddox is what he is and the other kid, the senior who has never started a game is going to get torched out there against ACC competition. Our D has to create more turnovers this year, last year we were pathetic. Yes, even with Narduzzi on our side.

    On the WR’s. It seems like a lot of posters are taking a contrarian point of view and thinking that our WR’s are going to surprise. Really? Based on what evidence? I come from the point of view, you have to prove it first. Ford is now our #1 guy, last year Boyd drew double and triple team coverage. Ford was going against some the other teams weaker corners. This year he gets the other teams best corner. Guys, top to bottom, we most likely have the weakest WR core in our conference. Not much recruiting help at WR in this current class.

    I keep saying it and it’s true. Narduzzi wants to run and he wants to run a lot. Just having a game manager at QB. He wants to play Big 10 football in the ACC. I’m not a fan of employing a Big 10 type offense in the ACC. The strength with this team is the OL and RB. We know it and other teams know it. 60-65% runs this year. For anyone that follows college football, that is Canada’s calling card as a OC. Reed if your reading, notice I’m not saying 70%.

    Sorry Reed, I disagree about Stocker as a throwing QB. He just doesn’t have it. Hopefully we don’t have to find out. I look for Dinucchi to transfer at years end.

    Reed, today and other times you’ve really downplayed the PSU game. It’s a BIG deal and it will have recruiting implications down the road. Recruiting is the the lifeblood of college football. Ask any HC from Florida schools, VT/UVA or GT and UGA, they HATE losing to their interstate rival. It’s not just another game. Narduzzi and Franklin hate each other, this game is personal and it’s also personal to both fan bases.

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  16. Looks like Richt should be forced to resign since he has so many off-the-field issues. It’s worse at Miami than it was under Wannstedt and his band of thugs, oops, I mean one major thug, Knox.

    Pitt will struggle on defense solely because of the linebacking corps. It’s going to take time, but Narduzzi will get the right guys in here who can actually run to the football. Not sure what Moose and his piss-poor defensive staff were looking for in their linebackers.

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  17. Media Access: Reed, I understand your frustration with the closed practices and limited information. It actually is not unusual. Gundy at OSU has an even more restrictive policy, OU is pretty closed as well. Neither let freshmen speak to the media unless they have a huge performance during the season. LSU practices and scrimmages are closed to the media. Those are the ones I know off the top of my head, I’m sure most big programs are restricting access now.

    Villanova: I would really like to see Pitt throw deep at least a few times to work on timing between Peterman and Weah and any other deep threats. I’m presuming Pitt is going to have an effective running game and don’t think they should have to do too much in the passing game to put up some points. However, if they complete a couple of long ones, that will force future opponents to respect the deep ball and not immediately go into 8 men in the box to sell out against Pitt’s running game. Outside of getting the win and staying healthy, I think the best thing Pitt could do coming out of this game is for Peterman to complete 3-4 passes over 30 yards through the air.

    Penn State: Yes, they are running a hurry-up, spread offense. However, their quarterback is listed at 6′ 195 lbs, which means he’s probably 5’10” 185 lbs. The Pitt D needs to punish him everytime he runs (within the rules, of course). Ideally, you maintain containment and deny lanes for him to escape the pocket, however, that’s not possible to do that for an entire game. The scholarship limitations really impacted their OLine; however, they will not give up as many sacks as they did with Hackenburg back in the pocket. It will be interesting to see if Pitt can contain Penn St’s running game between the QB and Barkley.

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  18. Correct me if I am wrong

    Pitt is a football team that won 8 games last year, gets James Conner back, and returns 17 starters which is the most returning starters in the ACC conference.

    I just read about 3 different teams losing their best players on offense and defense on our schedule.

    Pitt will be favored in 9 games this season by Las Vegas. The only 3 games Pitt will not be favored in by Las Vegas will be Clemson, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina, and the last 2 games might be less than 3 point underdogs. Which other team will be favored against Pitt by Vegas? Which other team on paper looks better than Pitt right now on our schedule? The updated Vegas odds have Penn State a 7 point underdog to Pitt.

    James Conner by every media outlet, coach on Pitt’s staff, and James Conner himself, including the depth chart, said he is 100% right now and ready to go as a full time starter. Why are people saying he is not ready when everyone tied into Pitt football program says he is ready, including James Conner himself, that just got 20 carries in the last Pitt scrimmage.

    Prediction: James Conner puts up 150 or more yards against Villanova and scores multiple touchdowns to set the record straight he is ready.

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  19. @ Anon- No one said Conner ‘wasn’t ready’. But much like not knowing what status the team itself holds until the games start I think it is the same with Conner… no one knows until the games starts and he starts carrying the ball.

    I have been saying that I don’t think we are going to see a repeat of the 2014 version of Conner’s play (meaning the production) and I even wondered about that pre-2015 although that 1st half of the 1st game was awesome.

    As I said in the podcast – I duck at predicting season’s records. I have no idea if we are better or worse than last season. I would like to have JP Holtz, KK Mosley-Smith, Artie Rowell and L. Pitts back though. Each player who is stepping up into those departed shoes are suspect I think.

    Then again we get Conner back and Peterman is going into his 2nd year starting and usually that means an increase in play – although for our old starting QB it meant a regression. So that could happen too I guess.

    Too many variables to factor in plus a harder schedule. As I said in the recording – I see 7-8 wins but no more and no less.

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  20. Reed, Officer was the center in 2014, when Conner set records. I think Artie was a weak link last year and we will be better this year.

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  21. Meant to post this earlier but videos wouldn’t post.

    Love you James Conner! 🙂 #ConnerStrong

    Welcome back. Hail to Pitt — One Week:

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  22. Great podcast Reed. I think our record this year should be 8-4 or better. Of course I am still gun shy about any game after the loss to Youngstown State in Chryst’s first game as coach and the Georgia Tech fiasco two years ago. Hopefully Narduzzi will not let these type of games happen. I think what happened at the end of last season was that the team simply got wore down due to lack of depth.

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  23. Our defense against spread teams will be crucial to our seasons results.If that works and no key injuries occur,9 and 3 is doable. Glad to hear of the opposition’s losses of player personnel.Miami was the only one I heard of before.O. State has a high power O but understand they have D problems. PSU has a good running back and good wide outs. Stop those threats and the spread/ hurry up and they will be ours. I liked Reed’s analysis of the PS /Pitt fan mix at Heinz.That will be a help. A one player loss will not effect Marshall too much. That still is one to be careful about. H2P

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  24. Orndorf and Holtz is a push in my opinion, with Orn holding the receiving advantage and Holtz holding the blocking advantage. I think Officer or Bookser at center is an upgrade. Artie was smart, but had too many injuries in my opinion. Pitts would be better with our new DL. I am not comfortable with Ryan Lewis. He looked lost when I saw him play db. Dane Jackson may be good so let’s hope.

    KK and Tyrique is a wash. Injury free week is crucial.

    @ Reed – In my earlier response I indicated that the backup qb situation would depend on timing of injury to our starter (I hope that doesn’t happen). I just read where the Duke QB is out longterm, so they are going with a true FR at qb. That was my thinking with MacPitt and Stocker.

    I predict 1-0 next Saturday.

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  25. ‘Pitt Is It’. One week.

    No one needs Lithium. Pitt Is It. One week. The University of Pittsburgh is #2 to No One. Most especially not In-State Opponents Villanova, or Penn State.

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  26. Great podcast, as usual, Reed. I agree more with your win/loss assessment than Vuko…whatever his name is (no disrespect…just too tired to look it up). Anyway, I’m hoping for 9, but expecting 7 wins.

    H2P

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  27. If Pitt only wins 6 games this year or 7, what is next year going to look like when we lose our starting senior QB, James Conner, our best WR, half our entire starting offensive line, and 8 senior starters on defense? 2 wins next year? 0 wins next year? 5 Year rebuild?

    If Pitt can’t beat teams at home with depleted rosters playing 2nd string qb’s like Duke this year we should move down to division 2. Maybe we all should accept that if 6 or 7 wins is the max we can get with an NFL offensive line and the player of the year in Conner with a senior QB and Reed’s breakout player Ford playing against teams with their #2 QB at home and still expect to lose, very Dark Times are ahead and the Pitt boat is taking in major water and sinking fast. This picture looks worse than titanic sinking reading this. I cant fathom what next years prediction will look like. 1 win against Rice at home? Can we beat Rice?

    I thought this program was improving after 8 wins last year. Now I realize Ive been fooled and we are sinking fast to the bottom of division 1 football as we have no talent and look dead in the future.

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  28. Anonymous – we haven’t hit the iceberg yet. This team will win 8+ games this year baring injuries. The talent level, experience and depth is better than last year.

    As for your zero win comment regarding next year, come on man – of the 8 seniors on D that we lose, 3 are LB’s that get trashed daily – the depth will gain experience this year and we will be better at those 3 spots next year. Same with the D-line – 3 spots graduate, but the depth behind them will be just as good, if not better. The Safety position has 2 SR’s who started in the past, but only one will start this year because of J.Whitehead, who returns next season.

    On O, we lose 2 very good linemen, but depth helps ease that pain. RB weakens with Conner going to the NFL, but that opens the barndoor for another horse. Orndorff and Parish at TE will be missed, but Mr. Clark and others will surface. I hope Ford is missed, but it should be “next man up”. NP will be the graduated player leaving FB that hurts the most, I think. Breaking in a new QB is difficult, but if the surrounding cast is as strong as I think it can be, we should be fine and be able to beat Rice – don’t sweat it so much.

    Focus on beating the wildcats – I expect a dominating, entertaining Pitt victory. But first, I want to be apart of the standing ovation that Mr. James Conner will receive this Saturday in front of 60,000+. Leave your tailgating experience early and enter the stadium to experience the start of a magical season with our very own Heisman candidate (whether the media calls it that or not) – if he repeats 2014, look out, as I think this team wins 10 games.

    HTP!

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  29. I think that Anonymous was being farcical in his thoughts about 2017.

    This is the time of year when I think we will be a good team.

    And I think we will. But just how good is the question. Sometimes quality does not translate into wins.

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  30. The reasons Pitt will be head & shoulders better on defense this season, first Pitt returns a majority of their starters from last year’s team, this is a veteran squad now. Especially a guy like Whitehead, who was just getting his legs under him and still played lights out should have a leap in performance now after a year to mature into this defensive system. And that is the second reason, everybody now has been fully indoctrinated into Conklin’s/Narduzzi’s defensive system. Nothing new now. Players and coaches up to speed now. Even guys coming on this season as first year starters like Soto at DT & Hendrix/Edwards at DE, have been preparing for their debuts all season back in 2015. Now is their coming out party!

    The impact that this familiarity with the coaches and system will have on this defense will be substantial. Slow guys with good anticipation, filling the correct hole in a smoothly functioning defensive squad, go a long way in compensating for lack of speed. Our LBs will flourish now in this defense with a year of experience under their belts.

    If we come up with an adequate replacement for Lafayette Pitts, then this secondary has the potential to be special this year. Not just OK, SPECIAL! Hamlin being hampered by injury is a big loss but even without him coming on strong in camp, guys like Dane Jackson & Malik Henderson are just chomping at the bit to demonstrate their skill sets!

    And although everybody focuses on Hamlin as the jewel in this recruiting class at CB, all of these guys have just as much potential to be impact players at CB in this recruiting class. All three played both ways, were stars at the state level and will be there for depth this year if injuries strike a heavy blow in our secondary. Remember the names, Henry Miller, Therran Coleman & Phil Campbell. Future stars.

    And while we talk future stars, right now the door is W I D E open for a true freshman to bust on the scene at DT for Pitt in today’s two deep roster. Who shows up ready to play right now? Rashad Wheeler, Amir Watts, Keyshon Camp? Opportunity is knocking, anybody ready to answer the call?

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  31. The other reasons that this team has the chance to accomplish beyond their “on paper” potential this season are those side stories involving the leaders on this squad.

    The Conner story needs no further explanation and the hype surrounding his return is just self perpetuating at this point. But look at Price’s situation. The kid was an injury riddled bad luck sympathy case for his entire college career until his final RS Senior season last year. Then he finally gets a good break being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. With another strong year, Price demonstrates his NFL worthiness. Sic em Ejuan!

    Then you got the long haired Sampson on our veteran OL, the BIZ. He is going to be behind the wheel steering that road grader of an OL all season long. Conner, Ollison, Ibrahim, Hall & Moss squirting through the holes this line pounds through the opposition’s defense is going to fun to watch.

    The “Conner Factor” is the real wild card for this squad though. If Conner decides to will this team to perform above & beyond it’s expectations, all he will need to do is to continue to do what he has done in the past, lead by example! James Conner will be the inspirational leader of this team this season. With just a little early season good fortune, producing some essential momentum for future magic to happen, there could be something in the air that could spell Panther success in key games like the first ACC test against UNC.

    Imagine the feeling this team carries into the second half of the season if they come out of Chapel Hill with a victory? I was there in person two years ago. We had those Tarheels on the ropes late in the 4th Q and let that win get away from us. We can beat those guys with this team. I’ll be there again this season to see us finally get our first win against UNC, at their place no less! Hail to Pitt!

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  32. Take a look –

    Record of Pittsburgh (vs North Carolina), 1869-2015

    Site First Meeting Last Meeting Games Win % Wins Losses Ties Average Score
    Any 1974 2015 10 0.300 3 7 19.00 25.00
    Home 1978 2015 4 0.250 1 3 20.75 24.00
    Away 1974 2014 4 0.000 0 4 20.25 32.75
    Neutral 1982 2009 2 1.000 2 0 13.00 11.50

    Individual Game Results of Pittsburgh (vs North Carolina), 1869-2015

    Date Opponent (record) Result Score Site

    10/29/2015 vs. *North Carolina (11-3) L 19 26
    11/15/2014 @ *North Carolina (6-7) L 35 40
    11/16/2013 vs. *North Carolina (7-6) L 27 34
    12/26/2009 vs. North Carolina (8-5) W 19 17 @ Charlotte, NC Meineke Car Care Bowl
    11/4/2000 vs. North Carolina (6-5) L 17 20
    10/10/1998 @ North Carolina (7-5) L 10 29
    9/9/1982 vs. North Carolina (8-4) W 7 6 @ Pittsburgh, PA
    9/22/1979 @ North Carolina (8-3-1) L 7 17
    9/30/1978 vs. North Carolina (5-6) W 20 16
    10/5/1974 @ North Carolina (7-5) L 29 45

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  33. Another good podcast by Reed Kohberger The Voice of Panther Football replacing Hillgrove in 2030. I too was disappointed by OC Chaney. I like to sit high in the stadium (511 H 15 45 yd line – send liquid tissue restoring beers liberally) to watch the plays develop and what weaknesses are exposed as the game progresses. I never had the feeling that Chaney was using one play to set up another or that he would notice weaknesses in a defense and take advantage of it later in the game. To me this is what a good OC does. I am glad to see OC Canada intends to call plays from the press box. Even so there won’t be “headphone malfunctions” 🙂
    Blanket party? That is why the Coast Guard Academy has never won a National Championship. 🙂 Party is for Saturday after the game. YOU’RE RIGHT I CALLED A CODE RED BLANKET PARTY!!!. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!! 🙂
    Here’s hoping NP stays healthy. If NP gets hurt I see Stocker given all the chances but coach might put in DiNucci if needed. MacV will not play – he only played one season of HS at QB.
    Wins – I am not a predictor but could go from 6 to 9 so I will go with 8.

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